Loring Park murder probe yields possible DNA evidence

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November 12, 2002 // UPDATED 1:33 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Kevin Featherly
Kevin Featherly

Homicide investigators have uncovered potential DNA evidence in their probe of an Oct. 12 slaying near Loring Park.

No charges been filed in the murder of Nick Valenty, 39, who lived in the Park Apartments at 15th Street East and Spruce Place. Valenty was stabbed several times on a chilly Saturday evening near a sidewalk across from Loring Park's Berger Fountain.

Police said they had no witnesses to the incident, which is being investigated as a potential hate crime. Alternate theories of robbery and other possible motives also are being considered.

Inspector Rob Allen of Downtown's 1st Precinct said investigators uncovered DNA evidence as part of a search warrant. He did not give any other details, but said the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is analyzing the material.

The victim's brother, Chris Valenty, told Skyway News last month he believes his brother's murder might have been a homosexual hate crime, even though his family never knew the 39-year-old's sexual preference.

"I do feel that due to the severity of the murder, that this was a hate crime, based on that he was different and that [the killer] probably thought he was gay," Valenty said. "And for all we know, he might have been."

Allen said on Nov. 19 that the investigation has not eliminated hate as a motive for the slaying. However, police noted, Valenty's wallet was missing from the murder scene.

Nick Valenty was trained as a classical and jazz pianist, though he almost never played in public, according to his brother. He was also an aficionado of the local music scene, and Chris Valenty speculated his brother might have been walking toward Downtown to see a concert when he was attacked and killed.